No Jail Time For Teen Driver Who Killed 3 Pedestrians, Including A 3-Month-Old Baby

Zoe Reardon, 18, pleaded guilty and got 36 months probation for the 2017 crash.

March 14, 2019
Mug shot of Zoe Reardon [Cherokee County Sheriff's Office]

Photo by: Mug shot of Zoe Reardon [Cherokee County Sheriff's Office]

Mug shot of Zoe Reardon [Cherokee County Sheriff's Office]

By: Mike McPadden

ATLANTA, GA — An Atlanta teen pleaded guilty in the case of the 2017 car crash that killed two women and an infant. She was sentenced to three years of probation.

The ruling came down after an emotional day in court in which the victims’ loved ones read impact statements.

On September 9, 2017, Zoe Reardon, then 17, was driving a Jeep that fatally struck 28-year-old Kaitlin Hunt; her three-month-old daughter, Riley Hunt; and their family friend 61-year-old Kathy Deming in Woodstock, Georgia.

The three victims had traveled to the state from Florida to escape the impact of Hurricane Irma.

Reardon, who turned 19 this week, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. She was sentenced to 36 months probation and ordered to pay $4,000 in fines, which can be reduced if she donates to a charity that combats distracted driving.

In addition, Reardon must complete 240 hours of community service and safe-driver training, and her license has been suspended for the next 12 to 36 months.

As she attends Southern Methodist University, Reardon will be allowed to do her probation check-ins in Texas. If she successfully fulfills all her probation conditions, the incident will be expunged from her record.

Reardon has always maintained that it was dark out and she simply did not see the three pedestrians step out in front of her car. Forensics also determined that Reardon was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, nor was she speeding. Reardon’s defense team has maintained, as well, that this was not a case of distracted driving.

Addressing the victims’ families in court, Reardon said, “I regret this is the first time you’ve ever heard from me. I’ve often wanted to reach out. I can’t imagine how much pain you’re experiencing. For all your heartbreak and loss, I am truly sorry. I wish there was more I could have done to make it better for y’all. I sincerely hope you folks can start to find closure.”

The sentencing occurred after a long day in which emotions ran high. Family members asked the judge to issue the harshest possible sentence, which would have been 36 months in jail.

Dozens of impact statements were made, and some witnesses addressed Reardon directly. No one claimed that she intentionally hit the victims, but many expressed anger that Reardon didn’t seem remorseful and that she made no attempt to reach out to them.

John Deming, one of victim Kathy Deming’s sons, told Reardon, “A phone call would have made a world of difference.”

Kaitlin Hunt had been a member of the U.S. Coast Guard. She lived in Port St. Lucie with her husband, Brandon Hunt, who works in law enforcement. Kaitlin, Riley, and their pets had traveled to Georgia as Hurricane Irma approached Florida in 2017.

Brandon Hunt’s mother, Mary White, said in court that her son could not bear to be present at the sentencing. She added, “I remember getting the frantic call from Kaitlin’s mother, and Brandon saying, ‘I sent them there to be safe.’ Everything he ever wanted in life is gone.”

Cherokee County State Court Judge Alan Jordan granted Reardon first-offender status. As he sentenced her, he said, “You’re pretty young. You’ve got a lifetime ahead of you. I expect this is something you’re going to have a hard time dealing with the rest of your life.”

Following the proceedings, Kaitlin Hunt’s family issued a statement that read, “Our desire has always been for the woman who killed our daughter, Kaitlin Hunt; granddaughter, Riley Hunt; and dear friend Kathy Deming to be held accountable for her actions. What happened is a tragedy on multiple levels, and there is no outcome that will make our family whole again. Court actions cannot heal us — we must continue to heal ourselves.”

Next Up

Colorado Teen Shot And Killed While Filming A TikTok Video

On Aug. 7, 2022, Aaliyah Annalyse Ranee Sanchez, 14, was fatally shot while recording a TikTok video with two other girls.

Georgia Police Officer Arrested In Connection With 16-Year-Old Girl’s Death

After the remains of a missing 16-year-old girl were found in the woods of an Atlanta suburb on Feb. 6, a local police officer was arrested in connection with the crime.

True Crime News Roundup: Teen With ‘Infectiously Positive Aura’ Fatally Stabbed While Tubing Down Wisconsin River

Plus: Georgia college professor accused of killing incoming freshman; jury awards two parents of slain Sandy Hook first grader $4.1 million; South Carolina couple arrested for 2010 cold case murder in Kansas; four Kentucky officers federally charged in connection with Breonna Taylor’s death.

3 Teen Suspects Arrested After Georgia Girl Was Found Shot To Death In Her Bed

Three 18-year-old men have been charged with murder in connection with the death of 15-year-old Madison Gesswein.

Colorado Man Allegedly Kills Teen Coworker In Break Room After She Rejected His Advances

Riley Whitelaw, 17, had previously expressed concerns about her 28-year-old coworker Joshua Johnson, whom she said made her feel uncomfortable.

Teens Arrested In Shooting Death Of Tennessee High School Class President

17-year-old Christine Michael had recently left a basketball game when someone began shooting at the car in which she was riding on Feb. 10.

Remains Of Teen Girl Missing Since 1980 Found In Serial Killer’s Home

Theresa Caroline Fillingim, 17, went missing on May 16, 1980 in Tampa. Four decades later, advances in technology identified her body as a victim of serial killer Billy Mansfield, Jr.

Man Sentenced For Killing Teen After She Visited His Garage Sale

In August 2019, Arthur Jensen lured 17-year-old Adara Bunn back to his home after meeting her at his garage sale and promising her Disney merchandise for her collection. When she arrived back at his home, he murdered her.

Twin 16-Year-Old Girls Murder Their Mother After Fight Over Being Late For School

“This was by far the worst crime scene I’ve ever walked into,” one cop says of the brutal slaying of Nikki Whitehead.

West Mesa Murders: Serial Killer Who Slayed, Buried 11 Victims Remains Unidentified

“We need new information on this case, that is what is going to lead to it getting solved,” the city’s mayor says of whoever killed the girls and women.